“New Jersey’s world-class public education system is the best in the nation because of our strong school communities where everyone – parents, students, educators, administrators, and coaches – is heavily invested in the academic and social success of our kids. To be clear, we value and respect these voices and the communities they represent in any decision made affecting our students.
“Our Comprehensive Health and Physical Student Learning Standards were crafted over 5 months in collaboration with many stakeholders, including parents, experts, and teachers, to ensure that our students receive age-appropriate and inclusive health education, which is critical for their physical, mental, and emotional development and well-being. At a time when we must prioritize student mental health and academic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is paramount that our standards also promote inclusivity and respect for every child, including LGBTQ youth. In New Jersey, parents always have and always will have a say in their child’s education, which includes opting their child out of any health lesson that they would rather discuss in the privacy of their own home.
“Unfortunately, our learning standards have been intentionally misrepresented by some politicians seeking to divide and score political points. At the same time, we have seen a handful of sample lesson plans being circulated that have not been adopted in our school districts and do not accurately reflect the spirit of the standards. Any proposed educational content that is not age-appropriate should be immediately revised by local officials.
“To this end, I have directed my Department of Education to review the standards and provide further clarification on what age-appropriate guidelines look like for our students. My Administration is committed to ensuring that all of our students are equipped to lead healthy, productive lives now and in the future.”